by christine victoria alexander

Wednesday, October 28, 2020


Countertops are in and they are so pretty! I shared in my last kitchen update our decision to go with quartz for this project. Quartz is man-made, requires no sealing and doesn't stain or etch easily like marble. It's a great option for a home with kids and an even better option for a family that cooks a lot! 😁 When we saw the countertops being unloaded from the truck Isaac and I both freaked out a little because they looked SO WHITE and we had remembered more veining. Once we got up close and saw them installed we fell in love with them. I am still a marble lover through and through and if we every build a house I will probably use marble because there is something so unique and romantic about it. But that will be a little down the road. For now, and for this season we are in, I think we made the right choice (low maintenance)! 

We had our new faucet and sink installed at the same time as the countertops and I feel like a domestic goddess going about my everyday tasks. The sink is big enough to swim in. Why on earth did anyone invent the two sided sink? I just don't understand it. Once you've washed a pot in a big sink with no divider there is no going back to a divided sink. Cannot wait to give our newest babe her baths in it next year! =) The faucet is polished brass and looks like jewelry in the kitchen. I love it so so much! Backsplash will go in soon! 

We have one loose end to tie up before we can paint the cabinets... we had the back of the island closed off after we removed the doors, but I'd like to add picture frame molding to it so it feels a little more finished. I sketched up what I wanted and then taped it off so I could see how it looked. When in doubt, tape it off to visualize! Isaac is super visual and doesn't understand many of my ideas until I show him a picture - this helped him get 100% on board with the idea. Here's my lovely painter's tape display alongside my inspiration. I think it's going to look great! 

So that's where we're at! Here's our hit list for November: picture molding, backsplash, painting the cabinets, light fixtures and hardware. There is light at the end of the tunnel! 


Monday, October 26, 2020


All it takes is a week or two of cooler weather to put me in the mood for fall (and all the yummy food that comes along with it)! I love baking a batch of muffins for the week, or cooking up a big pot of soup to eat for a few nights with a crusty baguette. My doors are open, leaves are falling with every gust of wind, the smell of chicken, onions and garlic is coming from the kitchen... I'm warming up a cup of tea and watching the girls play in the dirt outside. 

I've gotten very bad about planning out a weekly / monthly menu ever since I got pregnant with this little babe. Cooking was repulsive during the first trimester dealing with morning sickness, but now it's just laziness keeping me from planning and cooking dinners for the whole family. I've noticed that Madeline has gotten a little pickier and I think it's most definitely related to not having a "real dinner" every evening, and instead, making eggs or toast or pancakes for dinner and then cooking something else for Isaac to reheat when he gets home. So in an effort to change that and get back into my routine, here I am, sipping my tea, flipping through my favorite cookbooks and scrolling Pinterest for delicious fall meals that will get me excited to be back in the kitchen. 

Here are some recipes, some new, some tried and true, inspiring my menu this season - maybe they'll inspire you too! xx

I get tried of cooking a protein every single night and love coming across a main dish meal like this I can serve with a homemade muffin or a fresh loaf of bread. 

All the flavors of fall in one delicious, easy soup. 

I made these twice last fall and can't wait to make them again. A good meal for company too - who doesn't love a good meatball cooked in wine?

Technically a spring or summer recipe but I wanted to include this because I love using it as base for fall greens. Chard, beet tops, kale, whatever is in the fridge can be tossed together with an onion and baked in this yummy gluten free crust. A favorite for all seasons in our house!
Originally adapted from Ina Garten, and you know how I love Ina! I grill up a few Applegate sausages or chicken thighs to round it out a bit for Isaac.
Making this tonight actually! The red pepper warms your bones. Trader Joes has a red pepper infused oil called Chili Onion Crunch that I've used in this and it's dynamite. 

Everyone needs a good roast chicken recipe in their back pocket. This one is so simple, but incredibly flavorful!

I'm not always a fan of treating spaghetti squash like pasta, but this recipe brings texture which is a game changer. I always look forward to pulling this one back out when spaghetti squash shows up in stores again.

Slow-Cooker Chicken & White Bean Chili from Camille Styles
I didn't grow up in a chili-eating household so I'm still trying to adopt a fondness for chili flavors... that said, this one doesn't bother me. It's super easy to pop everything in the slow cooker before a busy day out. 

Hearty Herb, Corn & Oat Bread from Dolly and Oatmeal
Had to include my favorite gluten free cornbread recipe in this post. It's so good and my go-to for soup night. Happy cooking! 

Thursday, October 8, 2020


Come inside our sukkah and have a seat! It's the first year in a very long time we haven't had a rainy Sukkot - it's been so nice getting to hang paper decorations without fear of them turning soggy! 

We celebrate Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) to remember how God sheltered His people in the desert, and to look forward to when He will dwell again with us when He returns. 

In the last days, the mountain of the Lord's temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, "Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths." 

The Law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. All the nations may walk in the name of their god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever. 

"In that day," declares the Lord, "I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief. I will make the lame my remnant, those driven away a strong nation. The Lord will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever." - Micah 4:1-7

Our sukkah is pretty simple every year - we aren't hard core enough to sleep in it but we do try to eat most of our meals in it together. I stick with a few decorations I can reuse and then add greenery, lights and artwork to finish it off. This year's sukkah is one of my favorites so far. It is so colorful and cheerful - the girls were able to help quite a bit with getting it set up and decorated this time and that makes it so special to me. We made the paper chains together, we colored and painted artwork to hang, Isaac cut down all the branches for the roof, and we took a special family trip to the garden center to pick out a butterfly wind chime - it makes the whole setup just so lovely whenever a breeze comes by. 

Here's a little tour of our tiny 6'x6' sukkah! 

We have the Snap Button Sukkah Kit by Sieger Sukkah. We bought the tiniest size the year we got married and it's still going strong as a family of 5! (Our bungees gave out last year so I just ordered these new ones off Amazon which is way cheaper than having them shipped from Sieger Sukkah!)

I think I put a paper chain up every year but half the time it's soggy and ripped by day 2. Thanks to a dry Sukkot this year our rainbow chain is still intact! I bought this one as a kit and it saved me so much time cutting strips of construction paper. 10 out of 10 would recommend. Linking it here!

I get asked about the Jerusalem backdrop every time I post a picture of it - can I let you in on a secret? It's a shower curtain! There are bunches online.

I made the picture on the right the year Olive was born. Isaac had it laminated  for me so the rain wouldn't ruin it. I'm planning to do the same with the other pieces I made this year!

Thanks for stopping by! Going to get the girls up from naps and sit out here with a cup of tea and a maple donut! Chag Sameach! xx


Wednesday, October 7, 2020


The Great Kitchen Makeover is officially underway! 

Flooring: our first design decision. We knew we wanted to do wood in the family room, but weren't sure if we wanted wood or tile in the kitchen. In the end, we decided to carry the hardwoods we already have in the front of the house through the rest of the rooms - I love the continuity it has created. It was quite a bit cheaper than tiling (I was surprised!), it will hide the sloped floors without having to adjust them much, and, I think, lends a softness to a space otherwise filled with hard surfaces like stainless steel and stone. 
*I wanted to note here that if you live in the South, have a crawl space, and haven't had it sealed off or at least have a moisture barrier down there then wood floors could be problematic! High moisture (humidity!) levels under the house can buckle the wood and cause bubbling. This happened to our neighbors with their brand new wood floors and it was tragic. Our crawl space is waterproofed but we're going to get a fan/dehumidifier down there to keep things dry and circulating on humid days just to be safe. 

We had the wood installed in the kitchen and family room over the last couple of weeks and I wasn't near ready for how much plastic wrap they were putting on my cabinets and sink! Can I admit to you that I didn't even realize the dishwasher was going to be moved out until after it happened? It felt a little like camping... but with a fridge and no creepy crawlies in the shower. 😄 My parents were kind enough to host us for a few days while the floors were finished up. I cannot imagine how much trickier this would have been if we were cooped up in a hotel instead of being able to enjoy my parents beautiful home, gardens, swings, toys, my Mom's yummy cooking... THANK YOU MOM AND DAD! 

Laundry room, back entry and pantry are all being leveled and tiled this week! I was beyond excited to see that dirty, yellowed linoleum from 1985 ripped up and carried out! We chose a matte glazed ceramic tile that resembles marble and it's looking really really pretty going down. Choosing grout was so stressful! The color card did't match the grout mock-up in the store and I kept wondering which one was the actual color? I went with a light gray which will hopefully be easier to keep clean than white (the worst). 

Countertop update! We visited our first slab yard (very fun) and learned the difference between granite, marble, quartz and quartzite. The designer we worked with recommended steering clear of marble (my first choice) with a house full of kids (not to mention a love for cooking) and recommended going with lower maintenance quartz instead. I liked our designer and really loved all the options she showed us, but the quote for our project came back a lot higher than we were expecting. We looked at the selections at Lowe's but I didn't fall in love with anything we saw. 
We were put in touch with a general contractor that is able to source the same quartz we saw in person at the slab yard and his quote came back thousands of dollars cheaper! The breakfast bar and backsplash were removed this afternoon and if everything goes as planned we will have countertops in by the end of next week! 

The slab on the left is what we're using: MSI Calacatta Verona
You can see the sample of it on the right - I can't imagine trying to choose an entire counter off a swatch that size. I'm so glad we had the opportunity to see the whole slab! The paint swatch is similar to the cabinet color I picked out.

A bunch of people warned me about doing any kind of renovation with small children, but I have to say the girls have been so amazing with everything. They nap through the noise, they smile and wave at the workers, they stay out of the work mess... I'm just so proud of them! The gorgeous weather has helped too, of course! 💛 

Well that's my little kitchen & family room update! I'll share pictures of the finished back entry & laundry room tile when they get it wrapped up this weekend! 

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